Friday, January 7, 2011

Politically Correct NOT

I had this job once where I had to design and deliver induction training. Part of it was informing people about how the company was an equal opportunities employer and we embrace people of all races, religions, colours, genders and sexual orientation. It tied in to the behaviour policy and how we all had to be politically correct and not make comments, jokes or jibes that might offend anyone.

My boss was delighted with the training sessions I designed, even if she did remind me that it might be a good idea not to mention to anyone that I was gay, ‘for my own sake’.
We embraced diversity, even if, coincidentally, the only foreign nationals employed by the company were factory workers, while the Nigerian members of staff arrived in to clean the building when everyone else went home. There was a dwarf, and I bet you anything that dwarf is not the politically correct word for people who are small, but you know what I mean, and I don’t mean anything offensive. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? If you say something and somebody else feels offended by it, well if you didn’t mean anything offensive, can you be blamed? Surely the person who feels offended without good cause should just be told that they’re being too damn sensitive and to go get a life.
In the meantime, I had to deal with being on the parents' committee of a school that 'embaces those of all faiths and of none.' I got into trouble for suggesting having a Christmas fair. I was told that not everybody at the school celebrates Christmas so this is not inclusive. A woman from Algeria who had joined the committee was the only one who seemed puzzled, saying how much she loves Christmas back home, but there you go. The school do, of course, celebrate Ramadan and the Festival of Lights, and my daughter asked me once, when they had a poster with all different religions on it, why they didn't put Catholic on it as one. I just shrugged and told her that it probably wasn't sexy enough, but I decided against raising an issue with the school that it was a tad politically incorrect. 
In my case I wouldn’t consider myself to be prejudice or prone to incitement to hatred against anyone, but I do have a sense of humor despite being a fat aul lezzer. These days it seems that if you want to slag people off you have to be a professional at it, getting paid a few grand a night to take the piss out of people. The rest of us, who are only able to come up with about five minutes worth of derogatory comments, pay money to hear all of the things we’re not allowed to say, but we're allowed to laugh because it's in a controlled environment and for not more than 90 minutes.
At least thanks to politically correct behaviour I can rest assure that nobody will refer to me as a lump of lard with earrings, a fat lesbo, that cantankerous cretin or yer wan with the bad teeth, well at least not to my face. Policy demands that we all be polite to each other and spend our working lives treading on egg shells just in case somebody takes offence to somebody telling a joke or commenting that the sausage from the Polish shop stinks of garlic. And while all this is happening, we will be very politely taken for a ride, robbed, laughed out of it and treated like idiots by our leaders and politicians.
But they’re allowed to do that, because they are politicians, and politics, ultimately, is politically correct. Right?

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